The evening will begin at 6 p.m. with the Center's annual holiday membership reception, followed by selections from the opera performed by singers Mary Phillips, Theodore Chletsos, Brian Leerhuber, John Michael Moore and Julia Mintzer with pianist Tim Long. There will also be a discussion with Gordon and librettist Michael Korie, moderated by Opera News features editor Brian Kellow.
Gordon is known as one of a group of young New York composers (also including Michael John LaChiusa and Adam Guettel) who move freely back and forth between opera and musical theater. His songs have been performed and recorded by artists ranging from Broadway stars Betty Buckley and Brian d'Arcy James to opera luminaries Dawn Upshaw and Elizabeth Futral to singers like Audra McDonald who (like Gordon himself) straddle both genres. His staged song cycle Orpheus and Eurydice, for soprano, clarinet and piano (for which he wrote his own rhymed libretto), premiered at Lincoln Center in 2005 and won an Obie Award.
The Grapes of Wrath, based on the novel by John Steinbeck, opens at Minnesota Opera on February 10, 2007; it is scheduled at the Utah Opera in spring 2007 and at Houston Grand Opera and Pittsburgh Opera in 2008.